University of Bristol - Time for a crabby wake-up call

May 13, 2010

The phenomenal feats of endurance by red crabs on Christmas Island have been analysed in new research. Scientists at the University of Bristol's School of Biological Sciences studied the behaviour of the crabs, which spend the dry season relatively inactive in their rainforest burrows, then embark on a 5km migration to the ocean when the monsoon comes. The team wanted to investigate how the crabs switch from hypoactivity to hyperactivity in order to carry out this annual trek without any training. Through genetic analysis, they found that the crabs made major physiological changes over a very short time to sustain aerobic high-endurance muscle for their migration.

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